TALLAHASSEE (April 23) – Second-ranked Florida State rallied from an early 4-1 deficit to defeat sixth-ranked Georgia Tech, 7-5, and pick up a victory in the rubber game of the three-game weekend series on Sunday afternoon, April 23, at Dick Howser Stadium.
The victory drew the second-place Seminoles (39-8, 11-4 ACC) even with the first-place Yellow Jackets (34-10, 14-4 ACC) in the loss column in the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season standings.
Florida State starter Jon McDonald (9-2) picked up the victory, allowing four runs on seven hits in six innings of work. He walked two batters and recorded three strikeouts. Chris Whidden picked up his team-leading fifth save of the season by working the ninth inning.
Tech’s Steve Kelly (6-2) was the loser despite a solid outing. The right-hander allowed five runs on six hits in seven innings while striking out nine batters.
The Seminoles took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when Chris Smith led off the frame with a single and came around to score on a RBI double from John-Ford Griffin. Georgia Tech evened the score at 1-1 in the second inning when Jason Basil singled and scored on a throwing error by Bobby Spano.
Tech took a 4-1 lead with three more runs in the third. Wes Rynders, who had two hits in the game, led off the inning with a single and took second on a single from Richard Lewis. After a sacrifice bunt from Brad Stockton advanced the runners and Mark Teixeira was intentionally walked, Bryan Prince plated two runs with a single to left field. A sacrifice fly from Derik Goffena drove in Teixeira to close out the inning.
The Seminoles battled back with two runs in the bottom of the third to cut the Yellow Jacket lead to 4-3. Spano drew a walk to lead off the inning and came around to score on a RBI double from Smith, while a RBI goundout from Marshall McDougall scored Smith.
FSU finally retook the lead with two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Ryan Barthelemy belted a one-out double and scored on a RBI double from Karl Jernigan, while Brett Groves drove in Jernigan with the Seminoles’ third double of the inning. The ‘Noles added some insurance with two unearned runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to make the score 7-4.
The Yellow Jackets mounted a rally in the top of the ninth inning when a RBI double from Jason Perry scored Victor Menocal made the score 7-5. Lewis came to the plate as the tying run, but Whidden picked up the strikeout to preserve the FSU victory.
Georgia Tech will return to action on Tuesday night when the Yellow Jackets host Georgia at 7 p.m. at Russ Chandler Stadium. The contest will be televised on Fox Sports Net South.